Haapsalu Augustibluus: Nothing blue but blues
The 22nd annual Haapsalu blues festival took place around the town over the weekend and featured a first class international line-up.
Starting on Friday afternoon with a great mood, UkEt Band from Finland played at Rootsituru Kohvik with their ukuleles. With their music, they were able to turn the cloudy and raining weather into a sunny day. Perhaps their Hawaian shirts and flowers collars, their smiles and music from warmer places were the sunmaking dance of the day.
At the same time at a crowded Raamat Kovik, music and literature were performed together through the well-known Estonian poets Raivo Trass and Georg Merilo accompanied by the blues bass player Mai Agan.
At the main stage inside the Bishop’s Castle the Aussie band The Nature Culture brought the right energy with their funky-reggae blues-y rhythms. They made people dance and feel the good vibes flowing during the whole concert.
Later, Candy Kane boosted the arena with her powerful and alive rocky blues. After fighting cancer for six years, she encouraged people to find a reason to enjoy life as she does with music and singing. In the middle of the concert she threw away two CD’s to the audience as a gift and finished the gig taking a selfie with her spectators from the stage.
The headliner of this year was the next big artist of the night, Andy Fairweather Low. Warming up with covers of Elvis Presley’s songs, he kept the show going with his own great setlist and his brilliant musicians: the saxophonist Nick Pentelow, the bassplayer Dave Bronze and the drummer Paul Beavis. He concluded the night at Piiskopilinnus by playing some riffs of the most famous songs that he performed before he started up his solo career, songs such as The Wall by Pink Floyd and Layla by Eric Clapton.
To make sure that people didn’t get lost, there was a candle way illuminating the road to the next stage: Vana Kino. The Estonian musician Mikk Tammepõld amazed the late night with his own compositions to keep rolling the set called “Jungle never sleeps” with music until 10am of next day.
On Saturday the highlight was Tim Lothar. The Danish delta blues guitar player and singer performed at Raudteejaam.
Classic blues chords by Lisa Lystam Family Band and the fusion of the Russian and Finnish band Konstantin Kovalev & Firebucks were the starters at the main venue this second day. Chino & Big Bet, a band from Spain and Argentina, brought the most danceable melodies of the day with their swing and blues repertoire. They reinvented the unplugged session with no cables connected to their instruments, using only the resonance of the microphone and the public’s voice as their chorus.
The last performer of the final day, and also headline of the festival, was Boney Fields. It was a great night with breathtaking solos from all the components of the band. The singer and trumpet player knew how to make the audience enjoy the set and be part of the spectacle, not just listeners.
Over the years, this small Estonian town has promoted a diverse line-up from across the globe. Artists from Australia, United States or Japan performed alongside the European musicians in nine different venues. Augustibluus has become an enjoyable festival and a must go in the blues scene in the Northern Europe.